In a world where technology evolves at the speed of light, so does the cunning art of fraud. Navigating this challenging landscape is essential for both business longevity and consumer trust.
That’s why we’ve turned to an expert to help us decode the latest maneuvers in the world of fraud.
With over 15 years in fintech, Amanda Martin has a proven track record of building and scaling fraud prevention operations, significantly reducing risk metrics at Branch, Stash, PayPal, and more. She’s the seasoned expert you’d want to consult for navigating the complex landscape of financial fraud.
We asked Amanda five questions on fraud. Here are her answers.
How is fraud different today than it was a decade ago? Has your approach to fighting fraud evolved since you first started in the field?
Fraud isn’t what it used to be. The days of easily spotting a scammer are long gone, replaced by a new era where fraudsters can be anyone with an internet connection.
A decade ago, committing fraud often required criminal connections and a high level of technical expertise. Fraudsters back then typically operated in organized groups which, in some ways, made it easier to identify and counter common fraud patterns. Today, however, individuals can easily access information on how to commit fraud through various social media platforms. You don’t need to be a master criminal or a tech genius to commit fraud – just someone with an internet connection who may be going through a tough time. The rise of first-party fraud and collusion scenarios has definitely changed the way I approach fraud fighting. Sometimes I have to treat existing customers with the same level of scrutiny as new users.
The democratization of information has its dark side; it’s made fraud more accessible.
Gone are the days when fraudsters needed specialized skills or criminal networks. Now, it’s become a more insidious, widespread problem that can originate from unexpected places—even from within your existing customer base.
This new landscape demands a more nuanced, vigilant approach to fraud prevention, one that doesn’t just focus on the usual suspects.
What’s the one thing you’d change about how businesses approach fraud?
Knowing that fraud has evolved into a more complex beast, it begs the question: Are businesses adapting fast enough? Amanda has a straightforward yet powerful message for companies that are still playing catch-up.
Be proactive and early! Too many businesses don’t worry about fraud until it’s already a problem – you don’t want to be installing a sprinkler system when the fire is already raging.
Stop being reactive and start being proactive. It’s akin to ignoring a leaky roof until the whole house is flooded. By the time you’re dealing with a full-blown crisis, the damage is not only done but also exponentially harder to manage.
Businesses need to shift from a crisis-response model to a prevention-first strategy.
What would you say to a company that argues fraud prevention is too expensive or not a priority?
Some companies view fraud prevention as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have,’ often citing budget constraints or other priorities. Amanda has a reality check for those who think they can afford to put fraud prevention on the back burner.
Fraud doesn’t just cause financial losses – there are serious reputational risks that can damage your credibility with customers, vendors, and regulators. You may have the budget to cover fraud losses but you’ll never be able to buy back public goodwill.
The cost of fraud isn’t just monetary; it’s reputational.
Imagine being a five-star restaurant that suddenly gets hit with health code violations. Sure, you might recover financially, but the hit to your reputation could be a death knell. In the same vein, neglecting fraud prevention can erode customer trust and tarnish your brand, and that’s a price no company can afford to pay.
Are there industries that are particularly vulnerable to fraud?
Fraud is a universal problem, but not all industries are created equal when it comes to vulnerability.
Gig work is the one that stands out to me – the semi-anonymous nature of contracting with someone through an app leads to a lot of opportunity for abuse.
The gig economy presents unique challenges for fraud prevention. Its semi-anonymous nature creates a fertile ground for abuse, making it crucial for businesses in this space to up their game in verification and oversight.
If you had to describe the fight against fraud in three words, what would they be?
We’ve delved into the complexities and nuances of fraud prevention, but sometimes, simplicity can be just as revealing. Let’s hear a succinct summary of what combating fraud really boils down to.
Always a battle!
Short and to the point, but it speaks volumes.
The fight against fraud is relentless, a never-ending battle that demands constant vigilance. It’s not a problem you solve once and forget; it’s an ongoing struggle that requires continuous effort and adaptation.
In the ever-changing landscape of fraud, complacency is the enemy and vigilance is our strongest ally. The battle may be ongoing, but armed with insights like these, we’re not just fighting—we’re strategizing, adapting, and staying ahead of the game.
So here’s the final word: The fight against fraud is a marathon, not a sprint. Lace up your shoes, because now you’re ready to go the distance.